KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) and Pak Sarzameen Party have agreed to form an electoral alliance for forthcoming elections, leaders from both the parties announced on Wednesday.
Addressing a press conference at Karachi press club, MQM-P head Dr Farooq Sattar and PSP leader Mustafa Kamal said they have decided, after 6-month long deliberations, to contest next elections on one manifesto, under one party and electoral symbol.
Dr Sattar said MQM-P and PSP want to jointly serve the people of Karachi, Sindh and Pakistan, adding that the electoral alliance is an attempt to overcome the divide in the vote bank.
He said the political alliance is the need of the hour, adding that the step is aimed at restoring long-lasting peace in Karachi.
“The decision to form an alliance with PSP and other political parties has been taken to bury the politics of 90s,” said the MQM-P chief.
He said the future strategy and name of the political alliance will be decided in meetings between the two parties.
Speaking on this occasion, Mustafa Kamal endorsed Dr Farooq Sattar’s announcement and said his party will not serve only the Muhajir community but other ethnic groups living in the city.
Mustafa Kamal, however, maintained the MQM was Altaf Hussain’s party and it would always be his party, giving an impression that PSP will never work with the name MQM.
“PSP may not be acceptable to Dr Farooq Sattar so we can form a separate platform if he wants,” says the PSP leader.
Workers and supporters from both the parties were also present during the press conference.
PSP workers and supporters were happy with the restoration of ties with the MQM-P.
A PSP worker, Muhammad Ali, said both the parties should have formed an alliance months ago and it’s a welcome step.
But the body language of MQM-P workers was telling a different story. A female MQM worker said she is supporting Dr Farooq Sattar’s decision to form an alliance with PSP as she ‘cared about his future generation’ and the people will be safe after joining this ‘dry-cleaning factory’.
Another MQM worker Saad said he and his companions are halfheartedly supporting Dr Sattar as they have no other option.
“MQM and Kite are inseparable and we will not support Farooq Sattar if he sets up a new party,” said an MQM worker after the press conference.
MQM leader Faisal Sabzwari, who was standing a bit far from the stage, told the newsmen that MQM-P is not going anywhere and ties with the PSP is just an alliance like Islami Jamhori Ittehad (IJI), an establishment-supported electoral alliance formed by right wing parties in the 1990s.
Serious rifts within MQM were also noticed in the party’s meeting at Bahadurabad office before the press conference.
Party’s Sindh lawmaker Shabbir Qaimkhani had left the meeting and said he won’t support merger with the PSP.
A credible source said that MQM-P’s central spokesman Aminul Haque is also unhappy with Dr Farooq Sattar’s decision and has decided to quit MQM or take a back seat.
According to another source, the two senior leaders of MQM-P Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Aamir Khan were not present during the meeting as they are not in Pakistan. However, the source said both the leaders were not taken into confidence over forming an electoral alliance with the PSP.
In addition, MQM Ali Raza Abidi, who was in Karbala to mark Chehlum, announced his decision to quit the party and membership of National Assembly.
“I announce to quit MQM-P and resign from NA-251 as this is not what I believed and stood for,” Abidi tweeted. – SAMAA
Story first published: 8th November 2017